Best Graphics Card for Dell Optiplex 780

DELL has had the Optiplex Desktops in service for 25 years. The Dell Optiplex 780 family has the Mini Tower (M.T), the Short-Form Factor (S.F.F), the Desk Top (D.T), and the Ultra Small-Form Factor (U.S.F.F).

The Small Form Factor (SFF) comes with 2 expansion card slots accessible from the rear. It supports low profile cards for the Graphic Card expansion slot.The Power Supply Unit is rated for 235W. The option of processors installed on the SFF are the Intel Core-2 Quad (3.00GHz, 2.83GHz, 2.66 GHz), or the Intel Core-2 Duo (3.33 Ghz as well as 3.16 GHz, 3.0 GHz). It has 1 PCle X 16 slot.

Graphics Card Attributes for Compatibility with the Dell Optiplex-780 SFF

The inherent features of the Optiplex 780 SFF that determine the choice of a suitable Graphics card are;

  • Slots. The Optiplex 780 SFF has one PCle slot dedicated for the Graphics card. The Short Form Factor casing means it can only accommodate low profile cards. The compacted space also puts a restriction to heat-sink cooled cards only.
  • Power Supply. The Optilex 780 SFF normal power supply unit rating is 235W. The different components have to share this power and still have an allowance for instability in power supply. Mostly the Graphics card will have to draw its power from the motherboard, which will allocate about 25 W to it.
  • Heat dissipation system. The space allocated for the PCle slot is quite narrow for fan- cooled Graphic Cards. The fan would take up a lot of space. Heat-Sink Cards also have the advantage of not having wear and tear problems brought about by moving parts.
  • Casing. The Short Form Factor are quite compact, the can only accommodate low profile cards without having to seriously re-organize the architecture of the unit.

The Intended Application

Traditionally Graphic Cards are used for gaming and applications concerning 3D graphics. The graphic card capability is becoming more enhanced and their applications are becoming more varied. Graphic cards are taking on tasks that require accelerated computing power, taking some of the load off the central processing unit.

Graphic cards are now finding applications High quality, high speed TV streaming, HD and Ultra HD video, Graphics editing, collaborative projects that require shared computing power like crypto currency mining.

The decision on how much to invest in a Graphic Card will be determined by the intended application. Considering the Optiplex 780 SFF was made with the compactness as a key feature, it is fair to say that there is a limit to how much we can upgrade its hardware architecture. For more uses requiring a lot of graphic computing capabilities it is advisable to upgrade the entire unit.

Determining Features on Graphics Processing Units (GPUs)

  • The Video memory. The RAM on the Graphics card. Higher memory can support more functions. In gaming, the RAM may determine how realistic the animations appear. With higher RAM delivering better texture and depth.
  • The type of Monitor it is compatible with. Older versions of Graphic cards are only compatible with VGA monitors. Newer versions can connect to DVI as well as HDMI ports, or to both.
  • The Frame Rate. This feature is especially important in gaming. The Frame Rate is indicated in FPS (Frames per Second); basically it is a measure of how smooth images appear on the screen especially during movement. Frame Rate determines the overall user experience in visual graphics.

Video Cards compatible with the Optilex-780 SFF in the Market

Based on the features of the Optilex 780 SFF, it is possible to review some of the Graphic Cards that can be compatible.

The Graphic cards are low profile, compatible with the PCle X 16 slot and compact enough for the SFF casing.

1. ATI RADEON H.D 3450

Memory: 256 MB
Monitor output: Dual D.V.I or VGA & S-Video out.


Memory: 1 GB, DDR 3
Monitor Output: HDMI, DVI, D-Sub
Clock: 625 MHz


Memory: 1 GB hyper-memory, DDR 3
Monitor Output: HDMI, DVI-I, D-sub
Clock; 650 MHz

4. ATI RADEON H.D 3470

Memory: 256 MB, SDRAM, DDR 2,
Monitor Output: VGA (with support), DVI-I, Display Port.
Clock: 750 MHz

5. NVIDIA GeForce-9300

Memory: DDR 2, 256 MB, SDRAM
Monitor Output: VGA, DVI-I.

6. NVIDIA Quadro-NVS 420

Memory: DDR 2, 512 MB, SDRAM.
Monitor Output: SXGA, XGA, UXGA, SVGA,
Clock: 550MHz

Based on the specifications, many of these Graphic cards are not up-to date to handle today’s advanced video and graphic requirements. For a decent resolution, video output should at the minimum support the HDMI format.

The ASUS RADEON-HD 6450 and 5450 series seem to be the most promising from the group of Graphic cards.


The Radeon HD 5450 is an AMD compact Graphics card from ASUS. The heat dissipation is via a heat sink, thus making it impressively quiet and convenient for home entertainment systems.

It operates an AMD Radeon HD processor with a clock of 650 MHz. It can interface with DVI-I and HDMI outputs. Its power requirement is up to 75W, it draws power from the motherboard with no auxiliary power needed.


The ASUS RADEON HD 6450 is also impressively quiet with a formidable heat sink cooling system. It packs an AMD RADEON processor. It carries a GDDR5/ DDR3, 1 GB memory. It supports VGA, HDMI as well as DVI outputs. Its maximum power requirement is 75W, but comfortably operates at 27 W. It has a low profile and fits snugly in the Optilex 780 SFF.

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The AMD-RADEON 6450 Card works well for most PC based games and graphic manipulation tasks. It gives fairly quality 2D and 3D visual effects for a Card of its price range.


When deciding on the best graphics card for the DELL OPTIPLEX-780 SFF, there are basic design factors of the unit that limit the possible range of cards that can be fitted. This also narrows the kind of graphic and video options that the SFF can take.

The AMD RADEON HD 6450 shows impressive performance, with its passive cooling technology that allows it to operate at a noiseless level.

Some gamers have reported that the RADEON-HD 6450 has managed acceptable frame rates on some games; it is useful for its ability to decently present 2D and 3D visuals effects for PC games and Adobe applications.